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The Soul of Citizen Government

President's Day, George Wahington, term limits, power

Today’s federal holiday represents a truly spectacular feat of modern public administration: actual downsizing.

By our federal government, no less.

Where once there were two federal holidays, Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday, now there is just one: Presidents’ Day.

There is no equal in public sector simplicity, frugality, efficiency. Stand in awe, fair citizens.*

In that spirit of brevity (the soul of citizen government?) I’ll cut out the middle-man, moi, and let presidents speak to a classic example of less being more, term limits.

“If our American society or the United States Government are overthrown,” Abraham Lincoln wrote, “it will come from the voracious desire for office, this wriggle to live without toil, work, or labor — from which I am not free myself.”

“We want to see new voices and new ideas emerge,” explained President Barack Obama. “That’s part of the reason why I think that term limits are a really useful thing,”

‘Actions speak louder than words’ could have been George Washington’s motto. His greatness may spring more from giving up power than from wielding it. He could have been president for life, but he stepped down after two terms, eight years.

In his second term, President Thomas Jefferson expressed hope that his retirement would help establish that two-term tradition for presidents, ultimately leading to a constitutional requirement.**

Success! This February 27th marks the 68th anniversary of the 1951 ratification of the 22nd Amendment: presidential term limits. 

And having declared the 27th to be Term Limits Day, U.S. Term Limits and supporters are rallying all around the country next Wednesday.

Join in celebrating term limits and help push for limits on Congress.

It’s Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


* That’s what it seems like, anyway. The true story? Much more complicated. Officially, the U.S. Government still considers Presidents’ Day to be Washington’s Birthday, believe it or not.

** Jefferson had harshly critiqued the new Constitution for its “abandonment in every instance of the necessity of rotation in office, and most particularly in the case of the President.”

Contact U.S. Term Limits:
termlimitsday@termlimits.com

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President's Day, George Wahington, term limits, power

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By: Redactor

2 Comments

  1. 2WarAbnVet says:

    The Founders looked on public office as a temporary divergence from their normal business/job undertaken as a service to the nation’s citizens. At some point a transition occurred in which we have career politicians who immeasurably enrich themselves while seeing themselves as rulers rather than servants of the nation’s citizens.

    • Werner says:

      The transition happened as a result of gov’t getting so big that it’s insinuated itself into everything. Term limits do NOTHING to address this. All term limits do is increase the turnover rate of shysters and con men whose primary goal is to use the levers of gov’t to coddle to some special interest group that richly rewards them after being termed out. 

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